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Friday, April 22, 2016

Where grieving stops

"So what do we do now?"

"Nothing." "We do nothing," I said.

There it was, all the proof we needed to confirm the truth that we've known for years, the damning truth we've all been living with but ignoring like some godly elephant in our household through all those years.

My father is keeping another family somewhere. He has another wife, another son.

I've been quietly investigating this with the help of few people and now the process has come to an end. I have all the photos I needed. I have the names of all people involved, their addresses, all the necessary numbers.

It felt odd seeing them. Although I already knew this since for more than a decade now and that I've been preparing myself for this ever since, there was still that feeling of betrayal, like my chest was being pulled down and a hammer was pounding at the back of my head.

There's the whole truth, finally. No more questions. No more speculations.

I immediately told my mother about it. As I've said, we've known about it for a long time now. I already imagined how it would go.

But I thought it was odd the way she delivered that line. "What do we do now?" she said. There was no expression in there, no sentiment or anything. And yet it felt like another blow at the back of my head.

I thought I should hug her, tell her I'll take care of everything. I thought I should tell her I'll make arrangements. That we can file a case. That we can take control of this. That we have the police. That we have people in right places.

Instead, I told her "nothing." "We do nothing," I said.

I wanted us to cry, or to feel enraged, to feel the pain, to ask why us. I was thinking that we confront my father, confront the people who colluded in this, tell everyone and have them say "we're on your side."

But we didn't.

"We do nothing," I said with finality. And we understood.

At that point, I realized a part of me has disappeared and I am never the same anymore.

There were familiar memories that flashed instantly: that time when I was six or seven and I lost an orange balloon that was tied in my arm; that time when I was in grade school and I lost my baseball cap in a vacant lot a few blocks from our house and it's getting dark and I was crying because I couldn't find it; that time in high school when I was dying from typhoid and I was alone with the nurse; that time when I played Emilio Aguinaldo and no picture of it was taken because our camera broke.

I do not see any connection, or any logic to any of these. They just appeared out of nowhere and it felt like they were all fading one by one and I can't do anything about it.

There is nothing I can do that will change anything. I already lost my father years ago. I already lost the chance to grow up with a father. I already lost the chance to have a normal family. I already lost many years to anger, to attempts to destroy myself, to attempts to rebel, to attempts to seek blame and to hurt others.

And now memories are leaving, like my past is being rewritten, even those parts that has no connection to him. Or was everything in my past connected to him despite his absence for most part of it?

The night before this revelation, I had a huge fight with my boss at work and I knew I must resign soon. I was very angry. I was shouting at people, cussing, spewing spit as I raise my voice further. I was still breathing hard as I was preparing to sleep and I knew I had to calm myself or risk getting hospitalized.

I thought I should talk to my mother. And we did. And although it was comforting, I felt like I needed to talk about it more.

I calculated the time in the Middle East. I thought he must be awake still. So I called my father despite the fact that the last time I talked to him was during the New Year's Eve. I've been avoiding him and refusing to take his calls ever since.

The rings went unanswered. I gave up and went to sleep.

The next morning I tried to call him again. He rejected the call. A few seconds passed and my phone started to ring. It was him.

So I told him what happened and why I was calling and that I might lose my job soon and that I'm worried because I might not make it financially. I told him I was lost and that I do not know what to do.

"Don't worry. I'm here," he said. It was exactly what I needed to hear since last night and from no one else but him. After that we said our goodbyes.

It was odd to recall that now.

I realized now why I needed to hear that. It was the closure to all these, at least for me. It was the last time that I let myself cling to the thought that there's still hope for us, for our family. It was the last thread of connection that I have with him. It was the last time I will let myself have a father, the last illusion, the last pretension.

My father's dead and so is a part of me. The grieving stops now. And so begins the journey to forgetting. 
 

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